Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2019 The Author(s) Fathers play a crucial role in their children's socio-emotional and cognitive development. A plausible intermediate phenotype underlying this association is father's impact on infant brain. However, research on the association between paternal caregiving and child brain biology is scarce, particularly during infancy. Thus, we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate the relationship between observed father–infant interactions, specifically paternal sensitivity, and regional brain volumes in a community sample of 3-to-6-month-old infants (N = 28). We controlled for maternal sensitivity and examined the moderating role of infant communication on this relationship. T2-weighted MR images were acquired from infants during natural sleep. Higher levels of paternal sensitivity were associated with smaller cerebellar volumes in infants with high communication levels. In contrast, paternal sensitivity was not associated with subcortical grey matter volumes in the whole sample, and this was similar in infants with both high and low communication levels. This preliminary study provides the first evidence for an association between father-child interactions and variation in infant brain anatomy.

Original publication




Journal article


Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Publication Date